Guest post by OMC member Nicole Bulow, Owner of Sol Fuel Wellness
Physical Therapy during pregnancy improves labor & birth and facilitates postpartum recovery.
Prehab. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you haven’t.
Prehab is rehabilitation (rehab) that occurs before a surgery takes place.
Prehab is done to help an individual both go into surgery stronger and come out of surgery stronger.
Prehab helps make the post-operative rehabilitation faster and more efficient
Prehab is required if you are undergoing a joint replacement surgery or back surgery.
Prehab is highly recommended for ACL (knee) surgery or any other planned orthopedic surgery.
Prehab is supported by research. LOTs of it that proves the benefits of early rehabilitation.
Prehab should be the standard of care for labor and birth.
Think about it, not only does your body undergo magnificent and system wide changes during pregnancy, it then births a baby!
When you go into labor and a baby is born your body does some incredible things.
– Your pelvis literally opens up. The joints gap, they shift and move.
– The muscles of your pelvic floor stretch to four times their normal length. 4x!
– The fascia lengthens
– The organs shift out of the way
What the body goes through during birth is much more physically challenging and demanding then any of these other surgeries.
Prehab should occur before labor and birth
Prehab allows you go to into labor stronger and come out of your baby’s birth stronger.
Prehab helps make postpartum recovery faster and more efficient
Prehab is highly recommended if you are going to have a baby.
Physical therapy for pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum healing is supported by research.
What does prehab for labor & birth look like?
1. Education on anatomy and physiology
2. Strength training
3. Mobility work
4. Breath and postural guidance
5. Manual therapy
Education: Knowledge is Power
Physical therapy during pregnancy first and foremost helps you learn and understand what is happening/will happen in your body. We take it upon ourselves to help you appreciate the dance that occurs between your body and your baby during labor and birth. We also share information with you about how to support your healing in the first 6 weeks postpartum.
Strength Training: Power is Power
Physical therapy guides you to strengthen your body to support you as your baby grows and your body transforms. We also develop an individualized program that helps you build the strength and stamina you will need for labor and birth. This is a key phase of prehab as what you do during pregnancy will set you up for your postpartum healing.
Strengthen training does not equal kegels.
Actually, please stop doing kegels.
Your pelvic floor needs to lengthen and relax, not hold with increased tension.
Relaxin and other hormones are magnificent in that they provide a pathway to improved mobility, but this mobility isn’t a guarantee. If you’ve ever had an injury, back pain, hip pain, tailbone pain, or pelvic pain these are signs that there may be a lack of mobility in your joints or tightness in your pelvic floor and/or pelvic girdle soft tissues. Hands on work by a specifically trained physical therapist paired with an individualized daily program will help prepare your body for labor and birth which in turn prepares it for postpartum rebuilding.
The essentials. We spend all day breathing and standing or sitting. Physical therapy can help you learn ways to both support your growing body as well as to help you learn the best breathing mechanics and postures for you to labor in. We can help you formulate a road map for your labor, birth and early postpartum healing. It all starts with breathing.
Prehab is about more than just exercise. It’s about hands-on treatment by physical therapists that are trained specifically to support you during your pregnancy and prepare you for labor and postpartum healing. There are fabulous exercise programs out there, but prehab takes it a step further, optimizing your body for postpartum healing.